NAIROBI—Kenya’s foreign affairs ministry has denied reports of a planned elevation of Kenya’s Liaison Office in Hargeisa into an embassy.
The Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Alfred Mutua has stated that Kenya won’t set up a diplomatic relations with the breakaway region of Somaliland.
“I wish to clarify that Kenya does not have any plans to set up an embassy in Hargeisa, as has been erroneously reported in some established and social media,” Mutua said.
I wish to clarify that Kenya does not have any plans to set up an embassy in Hargeisa, as has been erroneously reported in some established and social media.
— Dr. Alfred N. Mutua (@DrAlfredMutua) January 13, 2023
Reports on the elevation of Hargeisa was fueled by the listing of Kenya’s Liaison Office in Hargeisa among the country’s sixty-six foreign missions in an Executive Order issued by President William Ruto on Monday, January 9.
Somaliland has been seeking to forge strong relations with nations in the region including Kenya which created a Liaison Office in September 2021 and deployed four officers.
When Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi made a visit to Kenya in December 2020 and held talks with then President Uhuru Kenyatta, Somalia sent a protest note cutting ties with Kenya.
Nairobi’s latest move is seen as a complete change of tune to President Uhuru’s administration which, on several occasions, threatened to establish ties with Hargeisa at the height of the Somalia-Kenya maritime dispute.
Kenya and Somalia have since normalized diplomatic relations. Somaliland declared its independence 30 years ago, but Somalia recognises it as one of its federal states.